Dixon lands solid Class of 2007

University of Pittsburgh Head Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon and built the Panthers into a Big East powerhouse. The Panthers are currently considered one of the top five teams in the nation. College basketball's early signing period began this week. The PantherDigest.com takes a look at Pitt's solid Class of 2007.

College basketball early signing period began on Wednesday. High schools seniors throughout the country began to sign their letters of intent. University of Pittsburgh Head Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon and his revamped coaching staff have assembled a solid 2007 recruiting class. Five players, 6-foot-7 ½ inch power forward DeJuan Blair from Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, PA, 6-foot-6 inch small forward Darnell Dodson from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, MD, 6-foot-9 ½ inch center Gary McGhee from Anderson Highland High School in Anderson, IN, 6-foot-10 inch center Cassin Diggs from Cloud County Community College in Condcordia, KS and 6-foot-4 inch shooting guard Bradley Wannamaker from Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia, PA, have officially faxed their letters of intent to play for Pitt.

The PantherDigest.com recently spoke with Scout.com's National Basketball Analyst/Editor Dave Telep. Telep was asked to comment on the Panthers recruiting class and he stated, "In my opinion, the leader of this recruiting class is (DeJaun) Blair. He's the guy who has the most mass appeal and star power coming in. This is a kid who works hard on the glass and could play a miniature Charles Barkley role during his time at Pittsburgh. For my money, everything centers on him reaching his potential as a player. If he does, we could be speaking about an All-Big East performer in time. He's got that kind of ability."

"The class as a whole is probably best described as solid. Wannamaker is the intangibles guy who chases after balls and plays the game hard; ditto for Dodson. McGhee is going to need time to get acclimated to the level of play (in the Big East) and get his conditioning down. Diggs is a big kid whom they have high hopes for from the get go. It appears he will fill Aaron Gray's shoes."

"I sent in my letter of intent on Wednesday," stated DeJuan Blair. "It feels great to get the entire process over with. I hope to get to Pitt next year, get comfortable with my teammates and contribute as soon as possible."

"The Panthers are going to be really good this year. I hope my class can continue the winning tradition that Pitt has developed. They lose some key players next year. I hope to step in as a leader on and off the court."

"I faxed my letter on Wednesday and it felt great," stated Gary McGhee. "The recruiting process is over with and I can focus on the upcoming season. I wanted to go to a big time program in a big time conference and I accomplished my goal. I'm very excited about joining the Panthers."

"I know how physical it can be in the Big East conference. I plan on spending a lot of time in the gym after my season and packing on some muscle. Hopefully I can become a solid contributor next year."

"My letter was faxed to Pitt on Wednesday," stated Darnell Dodson. "It's great to end the entire recruiting process. I can focus on my season and classroom work. I'm very comfortable with my decision and I can't wait to get to Pitt."

"My goal is to improve as a player this year. There are a number of things I want to work on. I want to develop into a really consistent shooter. My goal is to become a three-point threat for Pitt. I weight around 205 pounds right now at 6-foot-6 inches tall. I'm going to work on my conditioning and gain some muscle."

"Bradley (Wannamaker) had some exams to take this week but he was going to fax in his letter of intent by Friday," stated Roman Catholic High School Assistant Coach Rasool Greshman. "I can assure you he's really excited about joining the Pitt basketball team."

National basketball experts chime in on the Panthers five player class of 2007………….

** Clark Francis from Hoopscooponline.com ranks Pitt's 2007 class the 7th best recruiting class in the nation

** Van Coleman from Hoopmasters.com ranks Pitt's 2007 class the 14th best in the nation. He ranks DeJaun Blair the 17th best power forward in the nation and the 82nd best overall player in the nation.

** Bob Gibbons from College Hoops Update ranks Pitt's 2007 class the 17th best in the nation. He ranks DeJuan Blair the 36th best player in the nation, Darnell Dodson the 98th best player in the nation and Bradley Wannamaker the 109th best player in the nation.

Harry G. Psaros can be contacted at harrypsaros@msn.com.

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